Colts quarterback Peyton Manning kept everyone in suspense for the past two weeks, but he finally tied and passed Dan Marino's single-season record with his 48th and 49th touchdown passes Sunday.
However, he is far from the only player having an extraordinary season
to lead his team into the thick of the postseason picture.
The Patriots acquired running back Corey Dillon in the offseason hoping
he would provide a boost to the ground game. Not only has he done that,
but Dillon has become the driving force behind the offense and has
helped an injury-ravaged defense rest more during games. And with 89
yards Sunday, he has 1,519 rushing yards this season, breaking Curtis
Martin's franchise record of 1,487 set in 1995.
Other running backs putting up impressive numbers include San Diego's
LaDainian Tomlinson, who would tie the NFL record if he is able to rush
for a touchdown in a 12th consecutive game next weekend. And Seattle's
Shaun Alexander has eclipsed Chris Warren's franchise record with 1,616
rushing yards and broke his own previous mark with 19 touchdowns.
"He's a good back, and I think we have one of the best O-lines in the
league playing together," said Seahawks left guard Steve Hutchinson, who
will be going to the Pro Bowl along with Alexander.
Teammate Darrell Jackson won't be joining them in Hawaii, but the
Seahawks wide receiver did break Brian Blades' franchise record of 81
receptions in a season.
Carolina is still very much in the hunt to become the first team to
start 1-7 and reach the playoffs in large part because the Panthers'
passing game has overcome the loss of wide receiver Steve Smith.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme threw four touchdowns Sunday, two to wide
receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who has set single-season franchise records
with 1,310 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
Of course, almost all of the attention will go to Manning breaking
Marino's 20-year-old mark. And when a quarterback breaks a record of
that magnitude and has a 16-game streak in which he has thrown at least
one touchdown pass, his teammates are putting up some gaudy numbers of
Colts wide receivers Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley
have all topped 1,000 receiving yards this season, becoming just the
fourth trio in league history to accomplish the feat.
Records continue to fall
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